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The number of households receiving general housing allowance decreased slightly in 2022 compared to the previous year, as employment has improved in the last few years, resulting in less need for housing support. In 2022, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) paid a total of EUR 2.249 billion in housing benefits, slightly less than the previous year. Taking into account the basic social assistance paid for housing costs, the total amount reaches EUR 2.574 billion.

The general housing allowance accounted for 69.6% of the housing benefits paid by Kela, or EUR 1.565 billion. The number of households receiving general housing allowance in December 2022 was 382,232, approximately 9,400 fewer than the previous year. The largest decreases in relative terms were for two-parent families with children (about 8% less than the previous year) and childless couples (7.4% less than the previous year).

General housing allowance beneficiaries are mainly young people and students. In December 2022, more than a fifth of the members of households receiving the allowance were aged 20-24. The second-largest age group was 25-29 years old, accounting for 12% of beneficiaries. Most of the households receiving the general housing allowance in December 2022 were either student households (42%) or unemployed (32%). Of those receiving the allowance, 18% were employed, meaning that their primary source of income was wages.

On average, the income taken into account when granting housing allowance was EUR 988, and the allowance paid was approximately EUR 332. The general housing allowance covered slightly over half of the housing costs for the households on average, regardless of the size of the municipality or household.

"The recipients of the general housing allowance are low-income unemployed, students and workers in various life situations. The housing allowance is an essential part of their livelihood, as it reduces housing costs. The majority of the beneficiaries pay half of the rent from their own pocket, and about a quarter receive basic social assistance in addition to housing allowance," says Signe Jauhiainen, research manager at Kela.

72% of households receiving general housing allowance in December 2022 lived alone. The next largest group was families with children, accounting for 21%.

HT

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